Justice is bread

Justice is bread

All of those under arrest within the scope of the Dec. 17 investigation, including businessman Reza Zarrab, were released last week.

As the Justice and Development Party (AKP) executives say, “It is the justice that arrested them; it is again the justice that released them,” but you will see that these releases will take their place in international reports soon.

Here, in the Human Rights Report 2013 of the U.S. State Department, for the developments that followed the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 investigations, the term “scandal” was used and it was stated that “the law enforcement forces and the judiciary were under the influence of the government.” It will not be a surprise if these releases were associated with “this influence” in international reports.

In this context, I will refer to the global coalition against corruption, Transparency International’s “Overview of Corruption and anti-corruption in Turkey” (2012) report. In the 15-page report, companies, nongovernmental organizations and experts have been consulted, and it has been reported that the public had a perception that corruption was widespread, from placing “small bribes” inside the file while processing ordinary jobs in state departments to “public tenders.”

In that report, it is stated that the Tender Law has been changed 17 times. It is also explained that pressuring media outlets with heavy tax fines was making the fight against corruption quite difficult. Turkey is in 53rd place among 177 countries. The cleanest countries are European democracies. The United States is in 19th spot. China and Greece are worse than us in 80th place.

The report emphasizes the positive effect of several reforms and policies in fighting corruption but it also criticizes that some development only remained “on paper.”   

As a matter of fact, after Dec. 17, the previous regulation which was praised and was responsible for a judicial police report to the office of the prosecutor was changed, and important changes were made to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). The “influence” of the executive body over the HSYK has been strengthened. European Commissioner Stefan Füle issued five criticisms and warnings in one month about these topics. Is it possible not to include these in the next report?

Effect on economy

Why are corruption cases considered so important? Because national economies are intertwined; an ethical illness in one economy may infiltrate other economies. It is known that giant companies in developed countries get involved in bribery scandals in developing countries.

Bribery, favoritism and all kinds of corruption cause both “unjust competition” in market economies and also unproductivity…

Because of this, from the United Nations to the OECD, from the EU to other relevant international organizations, all prepare corruption reports. Major entrepreneurs review these reports while they are making investment decisions.

What did Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan say in his İSO speech? “Unless Turkey becomes a state with the rule of law in the real sense, then our target of becoming one of the top 10 economies of the world will only remain a dream.”

It is an exciting national target for me to become one of the top 10 economies of the world. My concern is at which place Turkey will be in the Transparency International 2014 report and what kind of image of Turkey will be depicted in the EU Progress Report. Since an image is capable of negatively affecting our economy, that’s why I have been saying repeatedly that justice is bread.

Taha Akyol is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on March 3. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.